Holster Printing: Essential Tips for Concealed Carry Success

Holster Printing

Let’s talk about something we all want to avoid: holster printing.

What is it, you ask?

In a nutshell, “printing” is when the outline of your concealed carry weapon becomes visible through your clothing.

This can happen for various reasons like poor holster choice or improper positioning on your body.

No one wants their gun to be spotted by others while carrying concealed – that defeats the whole purpose.

Besides looking unprofessional and attracting unwanted attention, it can also lead to some legal issues (more on that later).

Fortunately, printing is easy to avoid, if you put a bit of effort into it. 

Ready? Let’s get started…

Why Avoiding Printing Matters

Safety First

The whole point of concealed carry is keeping your weapon hidden from view. 

If people can see it, they might get nervous or scared – and nobody wants that kind of attention while going about their daily business. 

Also – 

Avoiding printing helps maintain an element of surprise in case you ever need to use your firearm for self-defense.

Flying Under The Radar: Legally Speaking

In some states, concealed carry permit holders must keep their firearm completely concealed, failing which may result in penalties such as fines or revocation of permits. 

It’s critical to be aware of your local regulations and adhere to them.

Professionalism and Courtesy

If you’re carrying concealed for work, it’s important to maintain a professional appearance. Printing can make coworkers or clients feel uneasy, which is not good for business. Gun owners should be courteous by keeping their firearm out of sight and out of mind.

Maintaining Your Privacy

Last but not least, avoiding printing helps protect your privacy. You have the right to carry without broadcasting it to everyone around you. Open carry may be legal in some states, but carrying concealed is a personal choice for many gun owners.

In a world where privacy seems harder than ever to come by, let’s at least keep our firearms under wraps.

Is Printing While Carrying Illegal?

Now, you might be wondering if your gun printing is actually against the law. Well, let me tell you – it’s not that simple.

The legality of printing while carrying depends on a few factors:

  • Your location: Different states have different laws regarding concealed carry and open carry. In some places, unintentional printing may not be an issue at all; in others, it could land you in hot water.
  • Your permit status: If you’re legally allowed to carry concealed with a valid permit, then accidental printing is less likely to cause legal problems (although it still might raise eyebrows).
  • The situation: Context matters. If someone feels threatened by your visible firearm or thinks you’re trying to intimidate them, they may call the police – even if what they saw was just an innocent print.

To avoid any potential issues related to holster printing and stay on the right side of the law, here are some tips:

Know Your State Laws & Regulations

Familiarize yourself with your state’s specific laws and regulations surrounding concealed carry and open carry. This will help ensure that you understand what constitutes as “printing” where you live and how best to avoid any legal troubles.

Carefully Choose Your Carry Method & Holster

Picking the right method for carrying your firearm (IWB, OWB, appendix carry, etc.) and investing in a good holster can help minimize printing. Remember: A good holster should provide proper retention while also allowing for quick access to your firearm.

Practice Proper Concealment Techniques

It’s not just about the gear – it’s how you use it. Learn and practice techniques that will help you conceal your firearm effectively without printing. This might include adjusting your clothing or carrying position based on the situation.

Avoid Drawing Attention to Your Firearm

Last but not least, don’t fidget with or adjust your gun in public. This could draw unwanted attention and potentially lead to someone noticing that you’re carrying – which is precisely what we want to avoid here.

Key Takeaway: 


The legality of holster printing while carrying a firearm depends on the location, permit status, and situation. To avoid potential legal issues, it’s important to know your state laws and regulations, carefully choose your carry method and holster, practice proper concealment techniques, and avoid drawing attention to your firearm.

So, How Do You Know If Your Gun Is Printing?

So, you’ve got your concealed carry permit and a shiny new holster. 

But how can you tell if your gun is printing through your clothes? 

Here are our favorite methods.

Mirror Check

First things first: the mirror check. Stand in front of a full-length mirror wearing your usual concealed carry attire. Move around, bend over, reach up – basically do all the normal stuff you’d do throughout the day. Keep an eye on any visible outlines or bulges that might give away your firearm’s presence.

The Hug Test

If mirrors aren’t cutting it for you, try this classic test: ask someone (preferably someone who knows about guns) to give you a hug while carrying concealed. If they can feel the outline of your weapon during said embrace, then Houston, we have a problem. Check out this article for more info on hugging while carrying.

Friendly Feedback

Sometimes it takes another set of eyes to spot potential issues. Ask trusted friends or family members if they notice anything off about how you’re dressed when carrying concealed – just make sure they know what they’re looking for.

List It Out:

  • Mirrors: Use them to check yourself from every angle.
  • Hugs: Get touchy-feely with someone who knows what’s up.
  • Friends & Family: Seek feedback from those you trust.

Carry Position Matters

The position of your holster can make a big difference in whether or not your gun prints. Experiment with different carry positions – such as appendix, hip, or side carry – to find what works best for you and your body type.

Choose Proper Clothing

Picking the right clothes is key when trying to avoid printing. Opt for looser-fitting shirts and jackets made from thicker materials that won’t cling to the shape of your firearm. Also consider patterns and darker colors which help break up any potential outlines.

In summary:

  1. Mirror checks are essential.
  2. Hug tests provide hands-on confirmation (or denial).
  3. Friendly feedback helps catch things you might miss.
  4. Carefully choose where you’re carrying & adjust accordingly.
  5. Dress smart: loose clothing, patterns & dark colors are all helpful.

It is essential to be mindful of potential indicators that your firearm may be visible, as this could cause legal complications. With knowledge and practice, you can learn how to conceal carry without printing so that you are able to enjoy all the benefits of responsible gun ownership.

Key Takeaway: 


Some tips on how to check if your gun is printing through your clothes, including using mirrors, the hug test, and seeking feedback from friends and family. Experiment with different carry positions and choose proper clothing such as looser-fitting shirts made from thicker materials in patterns or darker colors that help break up outlines.

So, How to Conceal Carry Without Printing?

So, you want to carry concealed without giving away your secret weapon? Fear not, my fellow gun enthusiast. I’ve got some hints and tactics stashed away that’ll assist you in keeping your firearm concealed. Let’s dive in.

Carry Position Matters

The first step in avoiding printing is choosing the right carry position. There are several options out there like appendix, hip, small of back or even shoulder holsters for those who prefer a more “Miami Vice” vibe. Experiment with different positions and find what works best for your body type and daily activities.

Choose Proper Clothing

Dressing appropriately can make all the difference when it comes to concealing your firearm. Opt for looser-fitting clothes that drape over your holster area instead of clinging to it like a stage-five clinger at a high school reunion. Darker colors and patterns also help break up any potential outlines from showing through.

  • Avoid tight shirts or pants – they’re basically an open invitation for printing.
  • Ladies: Consider carrying off-body in a purse designed specifically for concealed carry if clothing options aren’t working out.
  • Gents: Untucked button-downs or polo shirts can be both stylish AND concealment-friendly.

Invest in an Adjustable Holster (And Adjust It)

An adjustable holster allows you to fine-tune its angle, cant, ride height and retention so it fits snugly against your body while still being comfortable enough for everyday wear. Remember, a well-fitting holster is like your favorite pair of jeans – it should feel like an extension of yourself.

Carry a Compact Gun

Size matters when it comes to concealed carry. Smaller guns are easier to hide and less likely to print than their full-sized counterparts. If you’re a novice in the realm of concealment or just searching for something more subtle, think about investing in a miniaturized or ultra-compact gun (here’s our list of top selections).

Keep Things Comfortable

Last but not least, comfort is key. You’re more likely to fidget and adjust your gun if it’s digging into your side like an angry porcupine. Invest in quality gear that feels good against your skin (think breathable materials) and don’t be afraid to make adjustments as needed throughout the day.

To guarantee your concealed weapon is as unobtrusive and cozy as could be expected under the circumstances, it’s fundamental to comprehend how to effectively hide your firearm without uncovering its presence. Gaining proficiency in concealing your firearm without printing necessitates the acquisition of some skills and practice. Now let’s look at what should be done if someone notices your gun printing despite all of these precautions.

Key Takeaway: 


To avoid holster printing, choose the right carry position and clothing that drapes over your holster area. Invest in an adjustable holster for a comfortable fit and consider carrying a compact gun. Lastly, prioritize comfort with quality gear to prevent fidgeting throughout the day.

What Should You Do If Someone Notices Your Gun Printing?

So, you’ve done everything in your power to avoid printing, but someone still notices your concealed carry. Don’t panic. I’m here to help you navigate this potentially awkward situation.

Step 1: Stay Calm

The first thing to remember is not to freak out. Staying calm and composed will prevent the situation from escalating and drawing more attention than necessary.

Step 2: Assess the Situation

Determine if the person who noticed your gun is someone who might be alarmed by it. This can help guide how you handle the interaction. If they seem like a friendly person who’s simply curious about guns, then there may be an opportunity for education.

Step 3: Educate (If Appropriate)

  • If feasible and permissible, take advantage of this chance to teach them about accountable gun control and concealed carry statutes in your region.
  • You could mention that carrying a firearm is legal with proper permits/licenses, depending on local regulations.
  • Talk about why people choose to conceal carry – personal protection, family safety or even just exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Concealed carriers are often misunderstood, and this can be a chance to clear up any misconceptions. Additionally, knowing your state’s specific regulations can help you avoid common pitfalls.

Step 4: Address Concerns (If Necessary)

  • If the person seems alarmed or concerned, assure them that you’re a responsible gun owner and have taken necessary precautions to ensure safety.
  • Reiterate that your firearm is properly holstered and concealed, minimizing any potential risks.

Step 5: Adjust Your Carry (If Possible)

  • If it’s feasible, discreetly adjust your carry position or clothing to minimize further printing. This might include shifting your holster slightly or pulling down on your shirt/jacket for better concealment.

Bonus Tip: Learn from the Experience

Use this encounter as an opportunity to learn and improve upon your concealed carry techniques. Reflect on what may have caused the printing issue in the first place – was it wardrobe choice? Holster adjustment? Carry position?

In conclusion, carrying concealed is a personal choice that requires responsibility and awareness. If you’re effectively able to conceal your firearm, then you shouldn’t have to worry about printing. However, if someone does notice, follow these steps to handle the situation with confidence and composure.

Key Takeaway: 


If someone notices your concealed carry, stay calm and assess the situation. If appropriate, use it as an opportunity to educate them on responsible gun ownership and concealed carry laws in your area. Address concerns if necessary, adjust your carry position or clothing discreetly if possible, and learn from the experience to improve upon your techniques for future situations.

FAQs in Relation to Holster Printing

Is Printing OK for Concealed Carry?

Printing is generally not ideal for concealed carry, as it defeats the purpose of carrying discreetly. However, in some states and situations, minimal printing may be acceptable. It’s important to research local laws and practice proper concealment techniques to avoid unwanted attention.

What is Printing with a Holster?

Printing refers to the visible outline or shape of a firearm through clothing when using a holster for concealed carry. This can occur due to improper fit or positioning of the gun and holster, tight clothing, or certain body movements that cause the gun’s shape to become noticeable.

Is Printing Illegal in Florida Concealed Carry?

In Florida, there are no specific laws against “printing” while carrying a concealed weapon. However, if your firearm becomes exposed unintentionally or causes alarm among others due to its visibility, you could potentially face charges related to improper concealment (Florida Statute 790.053). Always exercise caution and use appropriate holsters and attire.

Why is a Holster Important?

A quality holster plays an essential role in safe and effective concealed carry by providing secure retention of your firearm while allowing quick access when needed. Holsters also help prevent accidental discharges by covering the trigger guard area and maintaining proper alignment between your body and gun during movement.


In conclusion, avoiding holster printing is important for gun owners who choose to carry concealed. It can be a legal issue in some states and may also draw unwanted attention to the carrier. Knowing how to identify and prevent printing while carrying can help keep you safe and out of legal trouble.

If you’re new to carrying concealed or looking for tips on how to avoid printing, this guide has provided helpful information on what it is, why it matters, and how to prevent it. Remember that responsible gun ownership includes being aware of your surroundings at all times and taking steps to effectively conceal your firearm.

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